396 United States Department of State to Embassy in Washington

Aide-memoire WASHINGTON, [9 June 1947] [1]

The Department of State has carefully considered the objections raised in the Australian Embassy's aide-memoire of May 7, 1947, to a second Antarctic whaling expedition under the control of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in Japan, but has nevertheless found it advisable to authorize the expedition under the provisions of FEC-035. The reasons leading to this decision are as follows:

(1) The protein food products and whale oil provided by the expedition will be a vitally necessary component of Japanese food and oil supplies during the calendar year 1948. The 1946-47 expedition produced a quantity of meat equal to 34 percent of the total Japanese meat consumption from indigenous farm sources in 1946. With Japan's principal normal source of proteins, Manchurian soybeans, cut off, this meat, having a protein equivalent of 122 million pounds of rice or 75 million pounds of wheat, cannot be dispensed with in the Japanese diet. If the requisite protein foods and oil for calendar 1948 are not obtained from whaling operations, it will fall upon the United States, which continues in the interest and to the advantage of all the Allies to supply the entire Japanese food deficit, to make up the deficiency, something which, in view of the manifold demands on its fats and oils resources, it can ill afford to do.

(2) Exclusion of the Japanese from Antarctic whaling would be contrary to this Government's fixed policy that Japan's position as a defeated nation should not be taken advantage of to gain economic and trade advantages for the victors.

(3) The United States Government cannot accept the thesis that the total yield of whale products available for world consumption from the 16,000 blue whale unit Conventional catch would be reduced in consequence of Japan's participation. The Supreme Commander reports that the Australian observer accompanying the last expedition informed him through the Australian Mission in Japan that the expedition was conducted in accordance with the International Whaling Convention except in one particular, which was 'the discarding of certain poor oil-bearing bones during processing, since the facilities of the factory ships did not permit this to be done and at the same time ensure a maximum recovery of whale meat'. The Supreme Commander has assured the Department of State that the factory ship in question will be modified before the 1947-48 expedition to permit necessary processing in complete conformity with the Convention, and that all regulations of the Convention will be observed.

(4) The United States Government cannot agree that the Japanese should be penalized in future because of their past bad record in pelagic whaling. Acceptance of the principle that future disabilities should be placed on the Japanese because of their manifold past violations of the rules of international comity in the commercial and other fields could only retard the re- orientation of Japan as a peace-loving and law-abiding member of the family of nations. As noted above the Supreme Commander has undertaken to ensure that the Japanese comply with all international regulations during the forthcoming expedition. The assignment of Allied inspectors will be welcomed as before.

(5) No significant present or future security threat to any nation can be perceived in a second SCAP-directed expedition. As with the previous expedition, representatives of the Supreme Commander will be present to see that no security regulations are violated, the expedition's Japanese personnel will be screened, and no vessels will be permitted to enter the waters of allied nations, unless with their consent. It is difficult to conceive two Japanese whaling ships, even though they might be adaptable to naval use, could be considered to constitute a security threat in Japan's present disarmed and impotent state.

The Government of the United States considers that in view of the continuing importance of Japanese whaling vessels and equipment to the achievement of the objectives of the occupation, and the negligible security risk which their continued possession by Japan entails, the allocation of such vessels and equipment for reparations would be premature at this time, and that their disposition should be considered as a part of the general reparations problem.

The Department of State desires to re-emphasize the position expressed in its aide-memoire of October 4, 1946, that the long- range future of the Japanese whaling industry is a matter for Allied discussion and decision. At the same time it must state in all frankness that it will oppose prohibition or special restriction of Japanese whaling operations on any other than valid security grounds or refusal by Japan to participate in and faithfully observe all relevant whaling conventions.

The Government of the United States sincerely hopes that the Australian Government will appreciate the compelling nature of the considerations which have caused it to authorize a second whaling expedition over the Australian Government's protests, particularly the fact that this Government cannot justifiably call upon the American taxpayer, already bearing in the interest of Australia and the other Allies the entire burden of Japanese relief supplies, to furnish large additional quantities of protein foods which the Japanese can practicably and at minor sacrifice to other whaling nations provide for themselves.

1 This copy is undated. It was presented to the Australian representative at a meeting in the State Department on 9 June. UK, NZ and Norwegian representatives attended the meeting and were also presented with US aide-memoires. All four representatives protested strongly and asked that no whaling expeditions be authorised until their governments had replied to the aide- memoires. The issue of the Japanese whaling fleet was also raised by Australia in an aide-memoire presented to the US Government on 29 May (Document 441).

[AA : A3300/7, 747]